After introducing its line of olive oil-infused coffee drinks in Italy, Starbucks has announced it will launch its Oleato range across 550 locations in the United States on March 27.
Patrons at select locations in Chicago, New York City and Seattle can already sample five new hot and cold beverages. Later, more cafés in Seattle and Los Angeles will serve Oleato.
According to interim chief executive Howard Schultz, Oleato drinks are brewed using Nocellara del Belice extra virgin olive oil sourced from Partanna, Sicily.See Also:Healthy Compounds in EVOO Still Present After Exposure to Heat
Earlier this month, a spokesman for Starbucks told Olive Oil Times that the company would also use Paratana olive oil to brew Oleato drinks at its locations in the United States.
In a press release on its website, Starbucks said Partana extra virgin olive oil will also be available to purchase at locations serving the beverages.
The decision to blend two stalwarts of Italian food culture – coffee and olive oil – came after the global coffee giant missed expectations in its first-quarter earnings in February.
Analysts had anticipated the Seattle-based company to generate $8.78 billion in revenue, with the company missing the target by $70 million. The revenue decline was mainly attributed to lockdowns in China, which shuttered more than 1,800 of its 6,090 stores.
“We posted [these] strong results despite challenging global consumer and inflationary environments, a soft quarter for retail overall and the unprecedented, Covid-related headwinds that unfolded in China in Q1,” Schultz said.
Some analysts see the partnership between Starbucks and Oleificio Asaro, its producer partner, as a necessary strategy for global brands competing to keep customers in an increasingly competitive food service environment amid the backdrop of economic uncertainty.
Depending on how the beverages are received in the United States and Italy, the company plans to introduce Oleato to specific locations in the United Kingdom, Japan and the Middle East later this year.
While Starbucks hopes that the unique combination will pique customers’ interest worldwide, experts in Italy also expect the partnership to boost the international profile of the country’s olive oils.
“Should the coffee-extra virgin olive oil mix achieve a high level of satisfaction among consumers, then its positive effect will be even more amplified,” Denis Pantini, head of the agrifood business unit at Nomisma, a consulting firm, told Olive Oil Times earlier this month.
“For sure, it could win the interest of those who might still be hesitant to consume a healthy product such as olive oil,” he concluded.